The Best Historical Fiction for Kids of 2021

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Are you a parent searching for the best historical fiction for kids? Do you want recommendations on historical fiction books that will catch the interest of your kids from start to finish? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are in the right place.

Historical fiction combines real characters with fictitious characters to tell stories of factual events that happened in the past. These books allow children to see how the characters dealt with problems that we still face today. To help you make the right choice of historical fiction for kids, we’ve reviewed some of our favorites in this article. Read on to find our recommendations for top historical fiction for kids.

Our Top Pick
Dream Big, Little One (Vashti Harrison)
Our #2 Pick
The Lions of Little Rock
Our #3 Pick
She Persisted in Sports: American Olympians Who Changed the Game
Our #4 Pick
Chains (The Seeds of America Trilogy)
Book Title
Dream Big, Little One
The Lions of Little Rock
She Persisted
Chains (The Seeds of America Trilogy)
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Pick
Dream Big, Little One (Vashti Harrison)
Book Title
Dream Big, Little One
Prime Eligible?
Our #2 Pick
The Lions of Little Rock
Book Title
The Lions of Little Rock
Prime Eligible?
Our #3 Pick
She Persisted in Sports: American Olympians Who Changed the Game
Book Title
She Persisted
Prime Eligible?
Our #4 Pick
Chains (The Seeds of America Trilogy)
Book Title
Chains (The Seeds of America Trilogy)
Prime Eligible?

Last update: 2021-01-24

Top Historical Fiction For 3rd Graders

Dream Big, Little One by Vashti Harrison

Written by a renowned author, artist, and filmmaker with a passion for storytelling, Dream Big, Little One inspires children to become better by telling them stories of women who have changed the world. This book is not just about telling stories, but it’s also about inspiring children to embrace reading. It’s the perfect historical fiction for third graders, especially if you are looking to inspire big dreams in them.

This book features eighteen trailblazing black women in American history. Kids will learn about role models, heroes, and everyday women who have put in the extra work to change the world and make it better for future generations. Kids will get to read about women doing all sorts of things, from speaking up for others’ right to putting pen to paper and soaring through the air. Certainly, young girls will learn that they can become whatever they want to become in a world that seems skewed against them.

What Makes It Unique:

  • Dream Big, Little One is logically structured, with a quick intro preparing you for inspiring stories of 18 trailblazing black women that worked to shape America’s history.
  • It is an excellent goodnight book to inspire bold dreams in young children.
  • Most parts of the book focus on telling inspiring stories and shaping young girls’ minds to know that they can do amazing things.

Why Choose this Historical Fiction for Kids:

  • Throughout this book, gorgeous pictures are featured to arouse the interest of young children and make them eager to read.
  • Dream Big, Little One is an excellent book for very young children, with stories told in a simple and easy to understand manner.
  • Short and straightforward illustrations help to keep children glued irrespective of attention span.
On Sale
Dream Big, Little One (Vashti Harrison)
Dream Big, Little One (Vashti Harrison)
  • Harrison, Vashti (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 26 Pages - 10/16/2018 (Publication Date) - LB Kids (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-01-24


This Little President: A Presidential Primer by Joan Holub

When it comes to inspiring third graders, you’ll need more colorful illustrations than complicated words. The authors of This Little President: A Presidential Primer know this, and that’s why they combined a good dose of beautiful illustrations with helpful information to inspire greatness in little kids. The fun and colorful board book presents information about past US presidents in a way that will excite young and aspiring leaders. Featuring sections on leading the country and keeping all fifty states safe and happy, this book will help your kids lean towards their patriotic side.

Thanks to this book’s simplified arrangement and beautiful combination of illustrations, even your young patriots can now learn about America’s presidential history without getting bored with details. Apart from highlighting ten of the most memorable presidents in America’s history, this book also features exciting information about all forty-four past American presidents on the last page.

What Makes it Unique:

  • This Little President: A Presidential Primer is full of white house history, leadership skills, and age-appropriate facts to inspire aspiring leaders’ greatness.
  • Different sections of this book feature fun facts and rhymes about past presidents to keep little readers engaged throughout.
  • The last double page of this book combines notable facts about all the past presidents of America.
  • It is also a great test of knowledge for adults that would love to refresh their memories on past presidents and their policies.

Why Choose this Historical Fiction for Kids:

  • This Little President: A Presidential Primer highlights several “first” presidents with caricatures and memorable rhymes to keep the mind of your young ones engaged.
  • This is an appealing primer that uses a fantastic methodology to discuss the American government’s structure and function.
  • The authors adopt a simple writing structure to illustrate complex concepts.
On Sale
This Little President: A Presidential Primer
This Little President: A Presidential Primer
  • Little Simon
  • Holub, Joan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-01-24


Popular Historical Fiction For 4th Graders

The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine

This is the story of great civil right moments told in a way that middle school students won’t get bored. Often regarded as an excellent historical fiction for 5th and 6th graders, this book tells the story of a twelve-year-old middle schooler, Marlee, in 1958. Many readers think that the book is weighty, gratifying, satisfying, and touching. It’s an authentic piece of work with a soul.

Writing a book to read as though it’s written in one effortless breath requires unusual talent, and that’s precisely what Kristin Levine brings to the book. The book focuses on the story of a painfully shy girl who readers will want to find the depths of her courage and let draw strength from her resolve to always stand up for the ones she loves. At some point in the book, the author also portrays the racial tension in the 1950s, and it’s devastating effects for kids to learn from it.

What Makes It Unique:

  • The Lions of Little Rock is a powerful page-turn with remarkable attention to details of events that unfolded during the timeline that the book was set in.
  • It offers enough depth and clarity to hook middle schoolers for a long time.
  • The author uses a dynamic personal narrative to tell about historical events successfully.
  • Although written for middle schoolers, the book’s powerful narrative style will hook anyone irrespective of age.

Why Choose this Historical Fiction for Kids:

  • The Lions of Little Rock brings humor and empathy into addressing a difficult period in our history.
  • The author handles big issues in a way that won’t cause bitter sentiments and depression.
On Sale
The Lions of Little Rock
The Lions of Little Rock
  • Great product!
  • Levine, Kristin (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-01-24


The Museum of Extraordinary Things: A Novel by Alice Hoffman

Again, Alice Hoffman shows her ability to create compelling stories out of historical events in The Museum of Extraordinary Things:A Novel. Throughout the book, the author weaves her trademark romance, magic, and masterclass storytelling ability to produce a storyline that will keep young minds glued for hours. The story is typically set around uniting Carolie and Eddie in a moving story of young love and tumultuous times.

Perhaps what stands this book out from most other historical fiction is the grace with which the author tells the story of a period. The period detailing is indeed eye-opening. Beyond that, however, the book shows Hoffman’s overarching outrage at abuses happening in urban workplaces. Most readers are drawn to the author’s passion for telling stories in a manner that would trigger people’s love for reading.

Overall, this book tells a great story about strange but sympathetic people living in bizarre circumstances as a result of their past haunting them. Once Eddie and Coralie discover each other, their driving force becomes the profound attraction and mutual obsession they feel.

What Makes it Unique:

  • The Museum of Extraordinary Things: A Novel puts Hoffman’s penchant for telling magical stories on full display. It shows off a world that’s filled with strivers, rogues, and corrupt politicians.
  • A clear definition of an enchanting love story that’s rich with history and a sense of place.
  • It does not disappoint in interpreting two different characters of depth and emotions and merging them into one story.
  • A detailed combination of lush imagery, vivid prose, and extensive use of period details makes for a rich reading experience.

Why Choose this Historical Fiction for Kids:

  • The Museum of Extraordinary Things: A Novel is a fascinating story with a vivid description of New York at the turn of the century.
  • With the story based on real events, the authors go the extra to make the story as exciting and engaging as it should be.
The Museum of Extraordinary Things: A Novel
The Museum of Extraordinary Things: A Novel
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Hoffman, Alice (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-01-24


Recommended Historical Fiction For 5th Graders

She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton

This is the book for parents that want to inspire their female children to pursue their dreams. The authors of She Persisted wrote this book to introduce tiny feminists, lit kids, and mini activists to the principles they’ll need to take on the world. Centered around the lives of thirteen inspirational women that never took no for an answer, this book offers everything kids will need to pursue life’s dreams without giving up. Teachers often recommend it as an excellent historical fiction book for 6th graders who want to speak up in places where situations are trying to shut them down.

It’s not surprising that Chelsea Clinton described She Persisted as a book that will inspire young children to reach for the Stars, even when situations make them feel too small or unworthy. The inclusion of vivid and compelling art makes this book as engaging as it is interesting. The detailed story of these fifteenth women would show young minds that women’s voices have been heard over time and that their voices can be heard too.

What Makes it Unique:

  • She Persisted is a beautiful, moving work of kids’ literature with a polished introduction to the stories of diverse, accomplished women across different fields.
  • A typical example of a child-appropriate book that touches on more in-depth topics that will stimulate a child’s mind.
  • It features great choices of exemplary women, with quotes from each to remind little girls that they can reach whatever height they want.

Why Choose this Historical Fiction for Kids:

  • A good combination of detailed stories and clear illustrations to catch the attention of any kid.
  • The author tells strong stories with in-depth lessons in a way that kids will understand and enjoy.
On Sale
She Persisted in Sports: American Olympians Who Changed the Game
She Persisted in Sports: American Olympians Who Changed the Game
  • Hardcover Book
  • Clinton, Chelsea (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-01-24


Award-Winning Historical Fiction For 6th Graders

Chains (The Seeds of America Trilogy) by Laurie Halse Anderson

Chains is the first part of Laurie Halse's trilogy that behooves middle-aged kids to examine history. The book’s main character is a negro child trying to protect her younger sister when enslavement and abuse were a trend. Throughout the book, the author did a fantastic job of telling the story of Isabel (the main character) without overdramatizing the hardship she felt at that time. Set at a time when the British invasion in New York was at its peak, the story centered on Isabella seeking her freedom and that of your sister instead of the country’s freedom.

Reading Isabella’s story serves as an eye-opener to younger minds, teaching them that there was a time when slavery existed in the United States. This compelling and impeccably researched novel from Laurie Halse shows the length that people can go to cast off the chains binding them both physically and spiritually. It also shows that everybody has the right to fight for better living, irrespective of age, gender, or race. Chains is an excellent book to buy for your middle school kids when you want to inspire them to pursue greatness irrespective of limitations.

What Makes it Unique:

  • Each chapter of Chains begins with a clip from a primary source showing originality as the author strives to tell Isabella’s story most compellingly.
  • Instead of focusing on America’s slave history in the South, like most other books, this book covers untold stories of many years of slavery in Northern America.
  • The author uses an emotional story to describe an essential part of American history in a child-appropriate manner.

Why Choose this Historical Fiction for Kids:

  • Chains is one of the most detailed and mesmerizing historical fiction to introduce to kids interested in learning African Americans’ history.
  • It’s an excellent balance of reality, gritty, and African spirituality presented in simple words that kids can understand.
On Sale
Chains (The Seeds of America Trilogy)
Chains (The Seeds of America Trilogy)
  • Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Anderson, Laurie Halse (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-01-24


Fascinating Historical Fiction For 7th Graders

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Although not for the faint of heart, this novel tells a story packed full of lessons for young adults. Throughout the book, the author is brutal with his language, but older and more mature teens can read it without being lost on the lessons therein. Often recommended as historical fiction for 8th graders, The Kite Runner tells a heartbreaking and unforgettable story of an unlikely friendship between a rich boy and his father’s servant’s son. This book adopts a smooth storytelling approach to teleport readers to the heart of Afghanistan at a tense and crucial moment of so much destruction and changes.

Apart from telling a powerful and engaging story of a unique friendship, The Kite Runner also focuses on other themes like the price of betrayal, the power of reading, and the possibilities for redemption. Over time, The Kite Runner has grown into an explosive, rare but classic contemporary literature that touches the lives of millions of readers around the world. Most readers confess that they find themselves filled with intense emotions by the end of the book. Readers can feel a special connection with the narrator as he gradually tells the story to a climax.

What Makes it Unique:

  • The Kite Runner is a very captivating book that keeps readers on their toes from start to finish.
  • This is an extraordinary novel that locates the everyday people and interjects it into a terrible sweep of history.
  • This is a powerful prose that tells stories of friendship, betrayal, and redemption from an intimate account without the frills and nonsense typical for many others.

Why Choose this Historical Fiction for Kids:

  • The Kite Runner features a plot depth and character complexity that mirrors the realities of a touching and inspiring story.
  • It presents an emotional story in a way that high school students can relate to all of its characters.
On Sale
The Kite Runner
The Kite Runner
  • Great product!
  • Khaled Hosseini (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-01-24


Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

Number the Stars is a fascinating story about friendship and bravery. Set in occupied Denmark during the second world war, this book focuses on the story of two almost opposite families living in the same apartment.

The author uses this book to disclose several interesting facts about life in Copenhagen during the war. Students will learn so much about the devastating effects of the war in this small European country.

Written for kids between the ages of 8 and 12, this book will introduce your kids to all the horrors associated with war in an appropriate manner. Although the book doesn’t do so well with graphics, it still conveys the tragedy and fear of war. It’s not surprising that it has won a series of awards. Several readers commend the book for the seamless, memorable, and compelling approach it adopts to tell an important and emotional story.

What Makes it Unique:

  • Number the Stars uses a smooth storytelling approach to show the strength people find when faced with the unimaginable.
  • This book is a blend of different emotions weaved into a well-written story.

Why Choose this Historical Fiction for Kids:

  • An excellent resource for kids that desire to learn about the history of war and slavery in ancient Europe.
  • Switches between storytelling and diagrammatic illustration to make reading easier for kids.
Number the Stars
Number the Stars
  • John Newbery Medal Winner
  • Lowry, Lois (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-01-24


Must-Read Historical Fiction For 8th Graders

Zora and Me by Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon

Whether she’s writing fiction or telling about real events, Victoria Bond has always shown her ability to write riveting stories. Zora and Me is a typical example of the magic the authors can do with words. The book was written to be read aloud in a true folklore fashion. The instructional possibility that the book comes with makes it an excellent book for classroom purposes. Its compelling historical facts, rich language, and slightly humorous suspense stand this book out among middle school historical fiction. Zora’s imagination and curiosity are central to how the story transits towards its climax. The authors also expertly include the biography of Zora Neale Hurston to get kids glued to the end.

Of course, the story has its sobering moments, especially considering how it opens with an alligator taking a man’s life. Subsequently, the story tells how the main character’s father moved to another town in search of work and never returned. The different misfortune encountered by the men of Eatonville presents numerous discussion and instruction possibilities. Perhaps the best way to explain this book is as fictional documentation of a literary giant’s early years.

What Makes it Unique:

  • This is a delightful book whose narrator’s voice draws its readers into the world of Zora Neale and friends.
  • Zora and Me is a grand and accessible work that informs, entertains, and educates in a unique child-like manner.
  • Throughout the book, the authors brilliantly render an African-American’s life in a time of wonder and imagination.

Why Choose this Historical Fiction for Kids:

  • Zora and Me is the first work ever to be endorsed by Zora Neale Hurston Trust, so you can tell that it has the quality you desire.
  • Two authors come together to tell an educational story in a way that will trigger the emotions of middle school kids.
Zora and Me
Zora and Me
  • Bond, Victoria (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 170 Pages - 12/27/2011 (Publication Date) - Candlewick (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-01-24


Search and Destroy by Dean Hughes

Put simply, this is a book that kids of different ages can read. Search and Destroy features a story of a boy who discovers the complexities of a conflict in a fast-paced setting of the Vietnam war. The main character, Rick Ward, wants to go to war, although he’s not sure exactly why he seeks to go to war. Perhaps, it’s his way of running from his dad, who’s renowned for his crazy temper, moving away from his girlfriend who sees him as a joke. Or maybe he’s actually running because of the need to find himself.

A significant highlight of this book is how the author adopts a compelling, insightful style to tell that story of physical and emotional scars that a devastating war left on soldiers. Search and Destroy details the many curves Rick passed through in the quest to find himself, including enlisting with the Charlie Rangers. As the story’s plot unfolds, Rick discovers that no one – not even politicians, writers, or protesters had the answer. The book is not just gripping, but realistic and well written to hold any kid’s attention till the end.

What Makes It Unique:

  • Search and Destroy is an insightful, compelling story that details events surrounding the physical, psychological, and emotional scars that war leaves on soldiers.
  • Throughout the book, the author laced the emotional story with lessons useful for kids as they grow.
  • An entertaining and emotional book that’s fit for students of different ages.

Why Choose this Historical Fiction for Kids:

  • Search and Destroy is written in an easy-flowing style while maintaining all the emotions till its end.
  • The author’s unique writing style will hold kids captivated and eager to get to the next page.
Search and Destroy
Search and Destroy
  • Hughes, Dean (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 07/21/2015 (Publication Date) - Atheneum Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-01-24


How to Choose the Best Historical Fiction for Kids for You?

Choosing books that will be appropriate for kids is quite tricky. Most times, there are so many things to worry about in the process, from language to the level of interest it’ll spark in them. Of course, your book vendor might make suggestions for you, but that doesn’t mean you should not double-check to ensure that their recommendations are suitable for your kid. Thankfully, there are several historical fictions online for kids, and you can just choose from them.

However, the availability of too many options can also make choosing difficult. This is why you need prior knowledge of the right criteria to pick the best children’s history books before going to the market. We understand the stress that comes with this process, and we’ve outlined some of the essential criteria to make the job easier for you. Read on to find answers to important questions that will help you decide the best choice of historical fiction for kids of any level.

What Historical Fiction for Kids is Right for Your Kid’s Grade?

This is the first question that most people ask. The truth is that different historical fiction books are written for kids in different grades, and unless you get one that’s right for your kid’s grade, it’ll not have the desired effect on them. Apart from being too big or too small for their comprehension level, some books contain foul languages and violent plots that may throw your younger kids off balance. Therefore, before buying a historical fiction book for your kid, you need to be sure that your chosen book fits their grade. Thankfully, we’ve highlighted different books for different grades in the review section of this article. If you are not satisfied with our choice, you can ask your book vendor or do a simple online search to find other parents’ recommendations.

What Historical Fiction Books are Recommended By Your Kids’ School?

Like most other subjects, schools recommend historical fiction books for kids at different levels. Before making recommendations, the school authorities often meet with the class teachers and experts to determine what’s right for each age grade. Therefore, you can rest assured that their recommendations are excellent for your kids. However, we recommend that you also read up reviews about the books they recommend to be sure they are kid-appropriate. If a school fails to recommend historical fiction books for your kids, feel free to call them and ask why. Also, meet with your kid’s teacher to find out their recommendations, especially since they are closest to your kid and understand what’s best for them.

What Kind of Historical Fiction Books Would Suit My Kids Personality?

Like movies and other fiction books, historical fiction comes in genres and types. As expected, the different kinds of historical fiction books suit different personalities, and you’ll want to get one that suits your kid’s personality. For instance, if your kid prefers fast-paced books, action-packed historical fiction for kids may be the best for them. Others may prefer historical fiction picture books for kids.

Whatever options you are going for, just ensure that it can hold your kid’s attention. If you are not sure about what’s best for their personality, you can ask them. Grown-up kids typically know what they want and would go for it. But you can make a choice for smaller kids or ask their teacher for recommendations. Bear in mind, however, that irrespective of the choice you make, the bulk of the job still lies on you to encourage them to read frequently. You can also get historical fiction read aloud to make the reading process as engaging as possible.

Wrapping Things Up: The Best Historical Fiction for Kids

Here’s a table of the best historical fiction books for kids we evaluated:

Our Top Pick
Dream Big, Little One (Vashti Harrison)
Our #2 Pick
The Lions of Little Rock
Our #3 Pick
She Persisted in Sports: American Olympians Who Changed the Game
Our #4 Pick
Chains (The Seeds of America Trilogy)
Book Title
Dream Big, Little One
The Lions of Little Rock
She Persisted
Chains (The Seeds of America Trilogy)
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Pick
Dream Big, Little One (Vashti Harrison)
Book Title
Dream Big, Little One
Prime Eligible?
Our #2 Pick
The Lions of Little Rock
Book Title
The Lions of Little Rock
Prime Eligible?
Our #3 Pick
She Persisted in Sports: American Olympians Who Changed the Game
Book Title
She Persisted
Prime Eligible?
Our #4 Pick
Chains (The Seeds of America Trilogy)
Book Title
Chains (The Seeds of America Trilogy)
Prime Eligible?

Last update: 2021-01-24

It’s a wrap, a detailed review of the best historical fiction books for kids. Buying books for kids is pretty difficult, especially since many of them do not know exactly what’s best for them. But that doesn’t mean you should get it wrong. There are so many options available in the market, and the availability of these many options can make choosing more difficult. Most times, you need the best recommendations from experts to get books that will suit your kid’s understanding and interest.

We understand the painful process it involves, especially when you have to shuttle between work and taking care of your children. To help, we’ve taken the pain to review the best historical fiction books for kids of different grades. These books are selected based on the quality of their content and recommendations from other parents. Therefore, you can rest assured that you are making the right choice when choosing any of the options in this article.

However, if after reading the reviews, you still want more, no problems. You can refer to our buying guide to learn how to pick the best historical fiction for kids. The detailed question and answers in this section will guide you to make the right choice from a sea of available options in the market. Otherwise, you can just pick our favorite option, Dream Big, Little One by Vashti Harrison, a book that inspires kids to work towards being better by telling the stories of women that achieved greatness. Our runners up, The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine, is a powerful page-turner written for 6th graders, with remarkable attention to details of events during a historical timeline.

Professor Conquer
Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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